Town & Country

A History of the Manning Valley

This area lies about 300km north of Sydney, where the earliest European settlers first arrived in the late 1820s. The Manning River runs through this rugged, isolated terrain, and this was to become the region’s main highway throughout the 19th Century. It is a valley with a rich history, a hidden gem with a rich past, and Max Solling’s latest book tells those stories and more, painting a vivd picture of life before and after settlement, and the people who left their homelands for a new life on the other side of the world. He also tells of the conservation history of the Wingham Brush, the last remnant of ancient wilderness in the region, and details the fight for its survival.

Max Solling is a passionate advocate for local histories whose previous work, a history of Glebe, was released to great acclaim.

Town & Country RRP $59.95

Where Is My Left Eyebrow?

LizDawson.jpegLiz Dawson was told cancer would take her life, then temporal arteritis stole her eyesight with lighting speed, leaving her blind overnight. But this remarkable woman wasn’t finished yet.

Even with the slightest of vision – just four percent in one eye – Liz  continued to work tirelessly on community projects that would make a difference to many lives.When faced with a future measured in months, not years, she wrote a book that would help others in similar situations.

It offers a helpful, practical guide to people with impaired vision and bleak outlooks for the future, as well as their family and friends. It confronts difficult topics head on and gives advice from many perspectives.

The indefatigable Liz Dawson, OAM, has since passed, but her campaign continues through her work.

She was well-known in the ACT; a former teacher, she successfully lobbied for a reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio in ACT schools. As a tireless worker in the community, she was the driving force behind Common Ground, an initiative to provide permanent supported housing for homeless people, and thus aid them in getting their lives and employment prospects back on track. She was also the driving force behind three dental care programs for disadvantaged people in the territory.

 

Somersaults in the Sand

Mapping Australia’s riches

Even today, spending weeks in Australia’s outback is not for the faint-hearted, even if you were in search of the riches that lie beneath Australia’s soil.

Somersaults in the Sand tells the story of that time. Canberra author and geologist Alastair Stewart was among a group of intrepid explorers tasked with mapping the complex picture of Australia’s geology. From the early 1960s they headed out into the middle of nowhere, often spending weeks at a time in remote, inhospitable areas, to do their work.

Survival was an important consideration too; in starkly beautiful terrain they had to deal with heat, dust, fire, wind and snakes, not to mention the ever-present problem of mechanical repair to vehicles when far away from convenient garages, or the trials of field kitchens and tinned food.

Alastair Stewart went on field missions until 2000 and his book tells of colourful outback characters, dangerous moments and funny times. It is a wealth of geological information and discoveries, explained in a way both laymen and scientists can appreciate, and it’s a testimony to the pioneering efforts of the people who mapped the country.

As much as it is a story of discovery and adventure, it is also a story of outback Australia in decades past.